I did it. I’ve jumped on the hippie quinoa bandwagon. This shit’s actually good. It may look like hairy couscous but it tastes nice and has a great texture. It helps too that it’s dead simple to cook.
I wanted to make a salad of sorts, being inspired by my friend Ally’s quinoa salad (and more recently, some crispy quinoa cakes with Sriracha mayo–Yes, please)–but I took a little bit of a different approach….a south of the border approach, I suppose.
First off, I just cooked the hairy couscous according to the package’s directions. I realize you can use stock or whatever, but I’m going to drench the stuff in dressing so I just cooked it in plain old water.
I also thought it would be lovely to have some roasty jalapeño flavor in there. I only used one, as I was taking this to a party, but for my own taste I probably would’ve used two. Yummy. Just go ahead and roast them right on top of the gas flame. It’s easy. Use tongs to turn them over if you are a chicken. If you are brave, just grab the little stem. Let them go black all over.
Put the pepper(s) in a bowl and put a plate on top. Leave them there so the peppers steam and the skins peel off easily. You can seed them as you choose. I seeded mine. Then chop them up in wee tiny pieces.
I also chopped the rest of the ingredients I wanted in there (but failed to photograph it)–red and yellow bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, avocado. I also rinsed a can of black beans. I probably would’ve used tomato if they were in season.
While the quinoa is doing it’s absorbing thing, whisk up the dressing. It is a basic vinaigrette, using the juice of a lemon and a lime and a little cumin for flavor. I used a neutral oil like grape seed so I could taste the citrus and spice. When the quinoa is still a little warm, add the dressing so it absorbs a little bit of it.
Once the quinoa is cool, add the vegetables and taste for seasoning. You might need more salt and pepper and a squeeze more lime or lemon but that’s up to you. I think this would be a swell dinner with a handful of tortilla chips and a beer, or a side dish for a picnic or outdoor party.